What makes our family interesting and unique: Duh. Like 12 kids for starters. I’d say one of the unique things about our family is how caring our kids are to each other. Our teens are great helps around the house and I’m not sure what we’d do without them. When we eat out at restaurants or are out and about in public, I’m always so blessed by people telling us how well-behaved our children are and how much they enjoy seeing a large family together.
What obstacles does our family face? Uh, where do we begin? Energy, patience, wisdom, 19 years straight of changing diapers, having teens and terrible twos at the same time, trying to balance letting our kids do activities with not running ourselves ragged … oh, there’s so much. Like remembering middle names and birthdays. That was kind of embarrassing when I couldn’t remember Olivia’s middle name at a School of Ministry study session in October. One of the students was saying how cute Olivia is and then asked her middle name for some reason. I totally couldn’t remember it. Does that make me a bad dad?
Are there any financial issues?You’re kidding, right? We have four teens who eat food by the ton, all four of them are in braces, we spend all sorts of dough on diapers (we have two of them in diapers at the moment and let’s just say our little ones have a fast metabolism, if you, um, catch my drift). We’re a single-income family living on a relatively meager newspaper reporter’s salary…and yet the Lord provides for us. Finances are one of the biggest struggles for us as a family. We don’t have a lavish lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination, but just the size of our family forces us to make tough financial decisions. But hey, we're saving money on birth control! Generally speaking, I always struggle with feelings of cheating my kids because we go without certain things, even though when I really stop and think about it I know that they have a wonderful life. (Go ahead and shed a tear or two.)
Is our family religious? Well, no. I define religion as man reaching up to God. We’re Christians, in which God reaches down to man through His son, Jesus Christ. We are non-denominational, attending Calvary Chapel, which is distinctive mainly by the fact that the pastor doesn’t give topical sermons but rather he teaches through the Bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book.
Like and dislike about a large family? You know, if I could trade in say 6 or 8 kids, or even 10, for a more “American” lifestyle I honestly wouldn’t. One of the biggest struggles for me, aside from finances, is just having time with my wife (I’ve obviously had enough time on occasion) or even there are times I get frustrated with not being able to do something I want to do. But when I think of not having this family, I really don’t like it. I went to Virginia for 3 weeks over Christmas to work for the newspaper and stayed in our big house in Gloucester and really didn’t like it. It was too quiet. I was so lonely. I love babies, I so enjoy how much our children love each other and I am just amazed that God has blessed me so richly.